Saturday, March 14, 2009

Building Blog Readers

How do you build blogger readers? I can tell you from experience--it isn't easy. Then an author has the challenge of building blog readers into novel readers. If you can't get people to sit down to read a 50-100 word blog post, how are you going to get them to pick up and buy a book and read 65K-100K words? When you think about the odds, the statistics--the whole challenge almost seems daunting.

Beth Moore has millions of fans who buy and read her books, Bible studies, and video accessories. Yet, her blog only has a little over 2500 subscribed readers through the Blogger following list. Since Blogger recently installed this feature a few months ago, I believe this number will grow significantly over the next six months--especially on Beth's blog. Then there are those who follow privately, so their numbers don't show up any blog lists.

So how do you grow your following list? I've seen people hold contests. Most authors ask readers to leave a comment and they'll draw a winner out of a hat and send them a signed book. I stopped entering these contests because my TBR pile began growing beyond my ability to read them. I'm sure there are others like me.

What else could we do? I think we should try giving away themed items related to our books. What does your story have in it that could relate to readers as a theme? Here at F.A.I.T.H. we all write Christian fiction, so we could offer Christian related themes to our readers. A lot of our readers might be leading Bible studies, children's ministries, teaching Sunday school so we could offer items that would be significant help and it would be like contributing to their ministry--like a Beth Moore Bible Study. I guarantee that everyone in that Bible study will hear about you and your blog. You'll be reaching more people. Isn't that what it's all about?

What else? I've been visiting a lot of non-author blogs lately to find out what other bloggers are doing. Some of those Mommy blogs where bloggers blog about their family, their children, and the challenges of parenting have some significant followers of 300 or more. But I also noticed they do more than just offer readers a chance to leave a comment and put their name in a hat.

They give readers an incentive to do more. First, they have to be a blog follower to even enter the contest. They tell them to email ten of their friends, blog about their contest and provide a link back, post reviews on Amazon.com, Barnesnnoble.com, etc. For every review, they get entered into the drawing again. For every email that goes out to ten different friends, they get entered again. For every link that is provided, they get entered again since some people have more than one blog and/or website or they are on community sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. And these contests don't just run for a day or a few days. They run for weeks, which gives more people time to do these things.

When my book, Highland Blessings, comes out, I'm thinking about running a contest that will pay for two free tickets to the Scottish highland games of the winner's choice, depending on where they live. These events are held annually all over the country. It would fit the theme of my book since it is a Scottish medieval and it would be something different. People always love a free trip somewhere.

What are some other ideas on increasing Blog Readers?
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Posted by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
www.jenniferhudsontaylor.com
http://jenniferswriting.blogspot.com

6 comments:

  1. Jenn,
    What a timely post. I've been thinking of themed things to post for my personal blog. I've had the same post for over a month now. But I have been trying to get a schedule and something a reader would want to read. It's tough. I think you have done a great job with your blog.

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  2. This is timely! I think I will do the book giveaway and announce it through my newsletter, which goes out to 1000 people. Giving people other options for entering is a great idea - The Book Muncher is currently offering one of my books and those who post a link at their blog get two entries.

    I'd love to hear some other ideas here! I've got a lot of followers at my social sites, but still struggle here on Blogger...

    L. Diane Wolfe
    www.circleoffriendsbooks.blogspot.com
    www.spunkonastick.net
    www.thecircleoffriends.net

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  3. I think contests are great. You have to budget for them. But I also think the content is crucial. I'm working on hitting the right mix, but I think we need to continue to offer content for our readers and not just personal tidbits.

    Linking is huge. Every time I link or someone links to my blog, my readership gets a little spurt. Go to other blogs and find those you'd like to link with and ask to exchange links.

    I'm so open to hearing everyone's ideas! I'm always looking for better ways to grow readership.
    Thanks, Jennifer.
    Angie

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  4. Y'all had some great ideas. I've found that when I put up a post on my Facebook/My space/Shoutlife page telling that I have a special blog post (like a guest or contest) then I get a lot more hits. Sometimes double or triple the regular number.

    I'm still trying to find my niche for my personal blog. I want it to be for readers (while this one is more content for writers).

    Great post, Jenn! I love your idea for your first contest. :) I've thought about giving away a quilt since my next book has a quilt on the cover. I'm going to talk to my sister about finding good deals on them (she's a quilter).

    Missy

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  5. I'm trying to find my niche too. I think blogging is great, but I've been having such a hard time building up to more than just a few friends.

    Thanks for the ideas. Think I'll look around a bit.

    LOL, I think visiting other bloggers and leaving comments helps bring visits to yours. :-)

    Chelle

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  6. Great post, Jenn. My poor blog has become a book reviewer blog, but that was not my intention. I need to put together a schedule of different "stuff" and interesting "stuff" to post about.

    I like your idea about the contest for the highland games. That would really make someone happy to win and its a unique idea.

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